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All,

I am new to this form and making a walking stick. The stick I want to use has a lot of sentimental value to me. I found it while working on my Wood Badge for Boy Scouts. I found it on the ground near a beaver damn and yes it has beaver marks on it. I have no idea what kind of wood it is. I will like to keep it as a memento of my experience. I would not mind using in it from now and then for light activities. Nothing major.

I am willing to take my time because I really want to do a good job. Maybe learn a new skill. I have access to many wood tools.

I have attached several pictures of the stick.

I hope you guys can help me out.

Thanks,

Bobwhite
 

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Hello Bobwhite and welcome to the forum. As a decrtive memento it will be a nice stick . I would recommend a Tung oil or danish oil finish. The wood appears very weatherd. And I would question its weight bearing abilities as a useable walking stick.
 

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I would question it's suitability as well. As a keepsake, I would not want you to break it. Perhaps you could use it to display a banner on your wall or some such.
 

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Welcome bobwhite. As already mentioned as weathered as the piece looks I would question it's strength. Hard to tell the stremght of the piece from a pic so it's your call as to how strong it really is. As to finish, the wood will undoudtly suck up quite a bit of finish, tung oil and Danish oil are excellent products but might be a bit expensive. Cheapest oil to use would be boiled linseed oil. Readily available at any hardware or paint store. Slather it on, wait 1/2 hour and wipe off the excess. BLO, "use once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year."
 

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All,

Thank you for responding to my post.

It is actually and surprisingly quite sturdy. I don't plan to use it for anything rugged.

Should I sand it before I put any oil? I have no problem oiling it up to a year. Once I am completed with the oil should I uses something to fill or seal the cracks?

If I should sand, what should I use?

Bobwhite
 

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Sanding is up to you Bobwhite. You will not need any thing ells if you use a good oil. "Pure Tung" oil has been used for many hundreds of years . Follow the direction on the one you oil chose. If it is Tung let it dry well between coats. Depending on the humidity and temp that can be a day to a week. It would be my choice for an older weathers wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will go buy Lowes this evening and pickup som "Pure Tung" oil. Is there any brand you recommend? I will just do a lite sanding to make sure loose particles are removed.

I am assuming you are looking for dry to the touch. BLO has been mentioned with a repeating process. Is there a process I should follow with Tung oil?
 

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Welcome!

On that stick less is more. If you sand it at all, I would recommend only sanding the grip area enough to make it comfortable.

Tung Oil and Boiled Linseed Oil are both good products. I use the Minwax brand of Tung Oil with good results-mainly because it's easily available.

I just build up the finish with multiple light coats by wiping it on with a rag. Let it dry between coats. Usually over night. After about the third or fourth coat I'll either use a fine sandpaper or steel wool to smooth the finish. Then it gets a few more coats followed by a final buffing with steel wool and wax. Tung oil and boiled linseed oil are both easy to touch up if needed.

One good thing about oil finishes is they penetrate into the wood a little bit and help bind the wood together some.

What the others said about it's condition. It's heavily weathered and checked. I'd recommend decorative or light duty use only as well.

All finishes will darken the color some. Oil based finishes generally have a yellow tint to them.

Rodney
 

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An alternative solution(and I agree with the others about using oil of some sort to preserve the wood) would be to stabilize it with some type of resin like Cactus Juice. (That's its brand name) It is used a lot by wood turners to take a really punky piece of wood and make it sturdy enough to put on the lathe.

Downside is that it's a bit pricey and you'd need some special equipment to do it, specifically a vacuum chamber (which could probably be cobbled together from PVC pipe), a vacuum pump, and then an oven large enough to fit the piece into (this resin cures at 190-200 degrees F).

Regular resins might do the same job but application would still be a bit tricky. In the end, though, you'd have a stick you could actually use.

The blank itself looks cool. Seems to have had a vine twist to it at one time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
All,

I am going to double back to everyone's comments.

I had a friend tell me that a filling-style solution, epoxy ideally to stabilize. What do you think?
 

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Epoxy first if possible if you go that route. Look up West System epoxy. They make several different mixes for different applications. A thinner one might penetrate into the wood better. You can sand epoxy and finish over it once it cures with no problem.

There are also rot stabilizers out there that are intended to penetrate and bind rotten wood together.

One thing to keep in mind. Completely stabilized wood has pretty much all the air in it replaced with whatever resin is used. It's heavy stuff. About 3 times heavier than natural wood of the same species.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Rodney, that is a very good point concerning the weight. So I will not use epoxy. I am now thinking to do several coats of oil for a while and then polyurethane.
 

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I would stay with the oil. you may find it worth you time to read up on Tung oil vs BLO. There are a number of atrticals if you google the subject.
 
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